EDITORIAL COMMENT: War vets must live by soldiers’ code

This collage shows war veterans gathering at the City Sports Centre in Harare recently before the arrival of the police who fired teargas and used water cannons to disperse them. — (Pictures by Justin Mutenda and Innocent Makawa)

This collage shows war veterans gathering at the City Sports Centre in Harare recently before the arrival of the police who fired teargas and used water cannons to disperse them. — (Pictures by Justin Mutenda and Innocent Makawa)

LAST week we witnessed scenes never seen before in this country, but scenes that should get us all to introspect and not forget that we are a nation in the crosshairs of the erstwhile coloniser. The former coloniser is desperate to quash our revolution to dissuade others in the developing world from daring to push for economic independence.

Lest we forget, the US — the biggest rabble-rouser in the world — accuses us of posing “a continuous and extraordinary threat” to American foreign policy. A policy of plunder and domination of smaller states.

Last week, we saw police clash with members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association who had gathered in Harare, ostensibly to be addressed by their leadership on contemporary developments in the body politic.

As it turned out, the meeting had not been sanctioned by the authorities who moved in to disperse the war veterans with teargas and water cannons.

The resultant images went viral on various media platforms, presenting a picture of a country at war with itself.

Yet all this could have been avoided if the war veterans had heeded the advice of their patron, President Mugabe who is on record telling the rank and file of Zanu-PF to keep party issues out of the media and to use organisational channels for redress.

Addressing Zanu-PF supporters at Nyamhunga Stadium after commissioning the construction of the Kariba South Power Extension Project in September 2014, President Mugabe dissuaded senior Zanu-PF officials from taking their differences to pro-opposition media houses, saying there were internal party mechanisms to resolve grievances.

“Zvekushambadza wonzwa kuti minister akati arikutukwa . . . takati nezuro kumaministers edu hakuna nyaya yekuenda kumanewspaper anaTsvangirai muchitukana. Nyaya ngadziuye kudare kwete kungoti nyaya kumapepa ana Tsvangirai, Hatidi (You hear that a minister says I was maligned in the media . . . yesterday we told our ministers not to go to the opposition media to disparage each other. Bring all issues to our party forums not to always rush to the opposition media, we do not want that),” he said.

There you have it.

Yes the ZNLWVA is not Zanu-PF but just an affiliate but the patron of the association, a war veteran in his own right long pronounced himself on decorum.

Any leader worth his salt, particularly a trained cadre, should know that when seniors speak, juniors listen. Anything else amounts to insolence or insubordination.

To this end we urge the ZNLWVA leadership to heed the advice of their patron, withdraw all cases in court and use the structures of the association to address any grievances they may have.

As freedom fighters, they are the reserve force for the ZDF, and discipline should be their watchword in line with the military doctrine issued in 1928 by General Mao and imortalised in the song, Nzira dzeMasoja that guided them in the struggle.

ZNLWVA chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa and Manicaland provincial affairs minister Mandi Chimene should thus de-escalate their public spat, engage like trained cadres and stop the drama that is only serving to give the media soundbites but detracts from everything they fought for.

For Cde Mutsvangwa in particular, he has no reason to be taking the association’s issues to the public arena or the media. He is not only ZNLWVA chairman but is also minister in Government responsible for war veterans affairs.

He sits with the patron in Cabinet every Tuesday.

If that proximity does not give him the platform he needs to address the association’s concerns, we then cannot help but echo President Mugabe’s words: We will wonder if Cde Mutsvangwa is still with others in the association!

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  • Bererashama

    Wasn’t Cde Mutsvangwa first elected as Chairman of ZNLWVA in November 2014, before the President later created the brand new Ministry of Welfare services for War Veterans in December 2014 and only nominated Mutsvangwa as Minister uniquely for strategic purposes in the hope of maintaining control over War Veterans?

    • Cde Mgagao

      The message you are missing it that Cde Mutsvangwa should use his government and CABINET position to communicate with colleagues in government on the welfare of the war vets. Being tangent and trying to play big politics outside the ZANU PF party and government channels is not advisable. Be reminded that both the government and ZNLWVA are products of the party. ZIPRA and ZANLA( today represented by (ZNLWVA) were created by political parties. ZNLWVA is subject to our party and government.

      • Kufandada

        Mutsvangwa is playing succession politics.He is the one who now wants to be President of Zimbabwe,ahead of Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo.

        • Ngomalungundu

          Nehanda forbid! Cde Mutsvangwa as President, with his foul mouth! Tinenge tashayisisa here? Any way there is no vacancy now for a President in Zim? Does he want to push out the legitimate and lawful incumbent? What Lacoste succession then? Prematurely? Nada !nada!

  • Kufandada

    Very good editorial Mr Zvayi.Well done.Good for the nation.